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Posts tagged: idaho state board of education

Reactions to new state board teacher licensing rule…

Linda Clark, the Meridian School District superintendent who co-chaired the tiered licensure committee with state Education Board member Rod Lewis, said she had no problem with the changes the board made to the tiered teacher licensing rule today. “I believe in the process, and when this process is used, the results get better,” she said. “They were all things that we discussed. There’s no change that was not discussed thoroughly by the committee.” She said she believes the licensing rule, setting up the new residency certificate and requirements for new teachers, along with recent moves by the state’s college and university teacher-training programs to come together and have a unified definition of the standards that a prospective teacher has to meet, together are two important moves toward improving teacher quality in Idaho with “gatekeeper” approaches.

Lewis said he doesn’t know if the changes will satisfy the strong opposition the board saw around the state to the new rule. “Who knows,” he said. “We believe they are major changes. We’d like to believe that it will make a difference.” He said, “We’ll see how it goes. What matters now is how the Legislature deals with it. The rule will have to go to the Legislature for their approval. We think it’s a very meaningful step forward for enhancing teacher effectiveness, and serves as a foundation for significant increases in teacher compensation.”

Boise School District Superintendent Don Coberly, who earlier had opposed the rule, said he still has concerns, but thought the changes were significant and appropriate. “I felt like the state board really listened to a lot of the comments that were made,” he said. “I think moving to a two-tier system was wise.” He also praised removing the new accountability measures from the license-renewal process for experienced teachers. However, he said he still has concerns about the way they’d play out for teachers in their first three years – they could lose their licenses over performance issues. “We don’t do that in any other profession,” he said, “where you take away a certificate for unsatisfactory performance. You fire ‘em. But losing a certificate is a whole different issue.”

Plus, he said, the “basic” rating in certain areas that could cost a new teacher his or her license differs from state law that uses “satisfactory and “unsatisfactory” ratings. “Basic” actually could be considered satisfactory performance, he said, so it seems odd to revoke a certificate over it.

Matt Compton, director of public policy for the Idaho Education Association, said the teachers group still has major concerns. “Teachers and parents and school board members all have been saying we should come back to the table … bring more teachers to the table,” he said. “There’s still time. We need to slow this down. That’s certainly something that has been ignored in this rule here today.” He said, “We still have a very serious concern about connecting evaluations to professional certification.”

State Board of Ed unanimously passes tiered licensure rule for teachers

The state Board of Education has voted unanimously in favor of the new tiered licensing rule for teachers, as amended; you can read my full story here at Board member Richard Westerberg made the motion, and member Debbie Critchfield seconded the motion.

Board member Rod Lewis thanked the subcommittee that worked on the rule, and the governor’s education task force that first put forth the concept. “The process that led us to this rule was probably one of the most open, collaborative, inclusive processes that many of us have seen in years in the education arena,” he said. To the subcommittee, he said, “I hope you don’t mind the changes that the board is proposing today. We believe that they are responsive to the comments that we received. I’m sure that there are continuing concerns, but there have been further major adjustments here, and I hope that it’s still in keeping with the spirit of the recommendations from the tiered licensing committee.”

Board Chair Emma Atchley said she will appoint a broad, inclusive implementation committee to oversee the new rule as it take effect, assuming the Legislature approves it. “We feel that we have come up with a rule that will work,” she said. “We have to remind ourselves occasionally that rules can change, there is flexibility in the process.” She added, “Please recognize that all of us are parents, grandparents, we have been involved in education for a long time. We are doing what we feel is good work for the state, and we hope that we can take an important step today. People have been talking about reform and licensure and a lot of things for many years. Today I hope will be an historic day that we can say we have taken a significant step forward.”

Board members ponder how new rules affect attracting teachers from out of state…

Several Board of Education members have raised questions about how the new tiered teacher licensing rules would affect new teachers coming to Idaho from out of state – and whether they’d hurt Idaho’s efforts to attract teachers from out of state. They’d get the same treatment as Idaho teachers in their first three years, and would be required to meet an array of accountability requirements to gain licensing; initially, they’d get a provisional residency license. “I think that the intent was that there  be fairness with respect to the teachers that were in-state,” board member Rod Lewis said.

Board member Debbie Critchfield asked, “What provisions are there … to help mentor and make sure that we give everyone a fair opportunity?” Lewis responded, “Mentoring was a major part of the recommendations that came out of the committee.

Board member Richard Westerberg, said, “I think the whole reason we have the residency mechanism in tiered licensure was to ensure that we have a quality product, a quality teacher, when we give them certification. So that same logic would be true even when we have an out-o- state teacher come in. We still want to make sure we have a quality candidate, because they haven’t gone through our residency.”

Ed Board members outline ‘fairly substantial changes’ to tiered licensing rule

The state Board of Education meeting started with board member Rod Lewis running down the list of the changes to the proposed tiered licensing rule, as detailed here. Board member Richard Westerberg said they are “fairly substantial changes.” Lewis said the biggest one is dropping from three tiers to two, and removing accountability measures from the professional-level certificate renewal requirements, instead leaving those renewal requirements for experienced teachers the same as they are now. Those measures still would apply to teachers within the first tier, which is generally those in their first three years of teaching.

Full house for today’s state Ed Board meeting…

There’s a full house at the Capitol today for the state Board of Education’s special meeting on tiered teacher licensing, though no public comment will be taken. Board Chair Emma Atchley told the crowd, “I appreciate your presence here – it’s always good to have an audience so the public knows what the board is doing.”

Four board members are present in person for today’s meeting, Atchley, Rod Lewis, Debbie Critchfield and Richard Westerberg; several other board members, including state schools Superintendent Tom Luna, are participating by phone.

Superintendent-elect Sherri Ybarra tried to come to the meeting, but spokeswoman Melinda Nothern said she slid off the road due to the snow in Mountain Home and instead will listen in by phone.

Proposed changes in tiered licensure rule include moving from 3 tiers to 2, keeping experienced teacher license renewal process as-is

Two big changes are among the modifications the state Board of Education will consider this afternoon to its controversial tiered teacher licensing rule. One would eliminate the third tier of licensing, so there would just be two: The residency certificate, for teachers in their first three years; and the professional certificate, for teachers with more than three years experience. Then, the board is dropping new performance-based requirements from the renewal process for the professional certificate, so renewals of teachers’ professional certificates would carry the same requirements that they have today, including requirements for additional education credits.

Performance requirements, including measures tied to student achievement and evaluations by principals, would remain in place for the residency certificate. And they wouldn’t go away for the more-experienced teachers, either – but they’d move out of the licensing process. Marilyn Whitney, spokeswoman for the board, they’d instead become a part of the proposed “career ladder,” which would give pay boosts to teachers when they attain certain standards. The career ladder legislation is separate from the tiered licensing rule; Whitney said the state board is scheduled to consider it later, possibly as soon as the board’s next meeting on Nov. 24.

That’s where the board could consider tying some pay increases to completion of advanced degrees, which currently brings teachers raises but was excluded from the tiered licensure plan entirely. “The board is considering, on the compensation side, for the career ladder … adding in some additional compensation for advanced degrees and education attainment,” Whitney said. “I think that’s in direct response to the public comments. But that would be in the career ladder legislation, and they’re not discussing that today.”

“They’re still talking about those details,” she said. “All they’re going to do today is talk about the tiered certification.”

The third level, initially identified as a “master level teacher” in the original tiered licensing rule, may come back in the career ladder as well, Whitney said, but it wouldn’t play into teacher licensing. Whitney said, “Most of the public comments centered around the concern over tying those things to licensure specifically, the professional certification. So this proposal they’re looking at this afternoon addresses that.” You can see the full proposed rule, with the changes, online here; it’s a 25-page document that also includes the board’s staff memo, summarizing and explaining the changes. The board meeting starts at 4:30 MT today.

State ed board to take up controversial teacher licensing changes today

Changes may be in the works for the controversial tiered teacher licensing rule, Idaho EdNews reporter Kevin Richert reports; you can read his full report here. The state Board of Education meets at 4:30 p.m. today to consider the rule, and last night posted information here detailing changes it’s proposing to the rule. Among them: “The specific performance requirements that have been removed from the proposed certification rule will be amended and added to the career ladder legislation. Amendments to the career ladder legislation will be provided to the Board at their next Board meeting for consideration.”

The board held three public hearings in Pocatello, Lewiston and Meridian about the rule, where reaction was overwhelmingly negative. It received 549 written comments, including five in favor and five requesting more information. The remaining 539 were opposed.

The board’s 4:30 meeting will be in room WW17 of the state capitol; it also will be streamed online here; or people can call in to listen at (877) 322-9654, code 896861.

Big crowd pans tiered licensing plan at state Board of Ed hearing

About 250 people, including educators, administrators and parents, packed the cafeteria at Meridian’s Mountain View High School last night for a raucous State Board of Education hearing on a tiered licensure plan for teachers – and no one testified in favor of the proposal, Idaho Education News reports. Even Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, a House Education Committee member, used his testimony to suggest technical changes, writes EdNews reporter Kevin Richert.

Opponent after opponent urged the State Board to start over, scrapping the plan entirely. ”There are just too many variables for the state to start another initiative,” Weiser School District Superintendent Wil Overgaard said. “Slow down and get it right.”

The state board will take the next 30 to 60 days reviewing public comments and will decide how to adjust the plan, state board member Rod Lewis said after the three-hour hearing. He told EdNews he still expects a plan to come before the 2015 Legislature, but he expects some adjustments; Richert’s full report is online here.

State Board backs new tiered licensing system for teachers, opens it for public comments

Idaho’s state Board of Education has voted unanimously to give preliminary approval to a new tiered certification system for teachers, opening the way for a public comment period and public hearing before final consideration of the rule in November. The new way of approaching teacher certification and licensing was developed as part of the governor’s education task force’s 20 recommendations for improving education in the state; the new licensing system would be tied to a new teacher pay system that would sharply increase Idaho teacher pay.

“This is a sea change in how we handle the certification of Idaho teachers,” said state Board President Emma Atchley.

However, the Idaho Education Association has opposed a key aspect of the new rule, Idaho Education News reports, arguing that a teacher’s license or certificate should not be dependent on educator evaluations performed at the local level. EdNews reporter Clark Corbin reports that IEA members have opposed the evaluations rule in committee meetings, but no one spoke against it as the state board considered it on Thursday.

Corbin reports that the new system essentially calls for two tiers of teacher certification. The first is a three-year, non-renewable residency certificate for teachers just starting out in the profession. The second is a professional certificate for teachers who have more than three years of experience and meet eligibility, student growth and performance standards. Within the professional tier, there are standard and master professional certificates. There’s also a contingent professional certificate for teachers who don’t meet all renewal requirements, and an interim certificate for teachers moving to Idaho from elsewhere. You can read Corbin’s full report here, and see the full state board rule here.

Universities name programs they could cut to save money, re-prioritize

Idaho State University would eliminate its bachelor’s degrees in German and French. Boise State would do away with its Department of Bilingual Education, and could eliminate its College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs in a restructuring. The University of Idaho would do away with bachelor’s degrees in musical theater, American studies and medical technology. All are among proposals presented to the State Board of Education yesterday as part of a year-long required look at university programs aimed at cost-cutting, reports Boise State Public Radio’s Adam Cotterell; the schools looked at every program offered and judged each based on things like return on investment and demand. The state board required all the state’s four-year colleges and universities to examine and prioritize their programs; layoffs could result. Cotterell’s full report is online here.

Sen. John Goedde, former Sen. Melinda Smyser among those passed over for Board of Ed

Among those Gov. Butch Otter passed over for the two recent state Board of Education openings, to whom he appointed David Hill and Debbie Critchfield: Outgoing Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene; former Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma; Trudy Anderson, a retired associate vice president from the University of Idaho; and more. Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert writes today about the selection process, including what both Hill, a former top official at the Idaho National Laboratory, and Critchfield, a board member and current public information officer for the Cassia County School District, said in their applications. You can read his full report here.

Otter taps Hill and Critchfield for state Board of Education openings

Gov. Butch Otter announced his choices for two openings of the state Board of Education today: David Hill of Boise, retired executive vice president of the Battelle Energy Alliance and deputy director for science and technology at the Idaho National Laboratory; and Debbie Critchfield of Oakley, a former member and chairman of the Cassia County School Board, current member of the Cassia County Republican Central Committee and an active education volunteer who served on the state technology task force. Hill will replace longtime board member Milford Terrell, who stepped down this month; Critchfield will replace Ken Edmunds, who left the board to become Otter's director of the Idaho Department of Labor in November. Otter called the field of applicants for the two posts “stellar,” saying in a statement, “Frankly, I couldn’t have made a bad choice. I’m very grateful for the willingness of all the candidates to serve and to help advance my vision for education in Idaho.” Click below for Otter's full announcement.

State Ed Board hires Dwight Johnson as new head of professional-technical ed

The Idaho State Board of Education today hired Dwight Johnson, most recently a senior administrator at the Idaho Department of Labor, as its new state head of professional-technical education. Johnson recently also was a finalist for the job of state director of legislative services, a position that ended up going to longtime legislative aide Eric Milstead instead.

“Dwight’s experience in education and workforce development will be tremendously beneficial to the division,” said Mike Rush, the state board’s executive director. “With his 20 years of experience in senior administrative positions and his relationships with industry, legislators, educators and students, Dwight is ideally suited to lead PTE in Idaho.”

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University; a master’s in public administration from BSU; and is a candidate for a Ph.D in organizational learning and leadership from the University of Idaho. “I understand and am passionate about the value and benefit of professional-technical education for individuals, for businesses and for our state economy,” Johnson said in a statement. “I'm looking forward to working with PTE educators, our technical colleges and the business community to provide education and workforce development opportunities for Idahoans.”

Johnson, 56, will earn an annual salary of $104,998.

Ahlquist, Jaquet among finalists for two seats on state Board of Ed

Five finalists are being interviewed today for an opening on the Idaho State Board of Education, and one of them is Tommy Ahlquist, chief operating officer of Gardner Company, an emergency room physician, Idaho State University Foundation board member, founder of a Boise-based defibrillator company and more. Ahlquist is the head of Gardner Co.’s Idaho operations, which include the newly constructed, 18-story 8th & Main Building in downtown Boise, and the City Center Plaza project, for which ground was broken today. The five being interviewed today are finalists for the board seat being vacated this month by longtime board member Milford Terrell.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter already has interviewed four finalists for an earlier board opening, created when then-board member Ken Edmunds became Otter’s new state Department of Labor director. Otter confirmed that one of those four is former state Rep. Wendy Jaquet, but declined to name the other finalists for either of the two positions.

Board of Ed approves 5% raises for two university presidents

Idaho’s State Board of Education voted unanimously today to give 5 percent pay raises to the presidents of Boise State University and Idaho State University, a 3 percent raise for the head of Lewis-Clark State College, and a 7.2 percent raise for the executive director of the office of the state board. The raises followed performance reviews for each of the top positions; the University of Idaho wasn’t included because new UI President Chuck Staben just started work on March 1.

With the raises – all effective June 8 – BSU President Bob Kustra’s salary will rise to $371,104; ISU President Arthur Vailas’ to $357,029; LCSC President Tony Fernandez’ to $176,011; and state board executive director Mike Rush’s to $129,938. The proposed raise for Rush is still subject to review by Gov. Butch Otter.

Otter seeks applicants for State Board of Education opening

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is calling for applications for an opening on the State Board of Education due to the retirement of longtime member Milford Terrell of Boise. Otter’s taking applications through Monday, June 16; Terrell, who is stepping down June 30, has until February of 2017 in his term, so that’s the term the appointee would serve.

Meanwhile, Otter still hasn’t made a decision on another opening on the state board, the one created when he named member Ken Edmunds the director of the state Department of Labor in November. Sixteen people applied for that opening, and the governor is deciding among four finalists, all of whom he’s interviewed. “The governor’s always said about these things, he doesn’t believe in rushing them,” said Otter spokesman Jon Hanian. “He’d much rather take his time and make sure he’s got the right pick than meeting some artificial self-imposed deadline. But given where we are, I don’t think it’s going to be very much longer” ‘til that appointee is named.

The State Board of Education is charged by the Idaho Constitution with overseeing both higher education and the state’s K-12 public schools. It has eight members, including the state superintendent of schools. The seven members appointed by the governor, who serve five-year terms, are required by law to be selected “solely upon consideration of the ability of such appointees efficiently to serve the interests of the people, and education, without reference to locality, occupation, party affiliation or religion.” To be eligible, an applicant must have been a resident of the state for at least three years.

Click below for Otter’s announcement, including application information.

State Ed Board elects new officers, Atchley to take over as president

Emma Atchley of eastern Idaho has been elected president of the State Board of Education, taking over from Don Soltman, who finished up his term as president today; he was elected secretary for the coming year. The board also elected Rod Lewis of Boise as its vice president. “Don has done an outstanding job, and we appreciate all he has accomplished,” Atchley said. “The students of our state are fortunate to have such diligent, thoughtful leaders working on their behalf.”

Terrell to resign from state Ed Board in June

Idaho State Board of Education member Milford Terrell has announced that he’ll step down from the board on June 30, three years before the expiration of his current five-year term. “I’ve served as a volunteer for 30 years for six governors on numerous boards and committees,” said Terrell, who is in his third term on the board. “My wife and I have decided it’s time to scale back on some of these activities.”

Board President Don Soltman praised Terrell, saying, “His wise counsel and tireless efforts will be greatly missed.” It’ll be up to Gov. Butch Otter to appoint a new member to serve out the remainder of Terrell’s term.

State ed board approves college tuition and fee hikes, with trims

Idaho’s State Board of Education has approved tuition increases for next year of 4 percent at BSU and the University of Idaho, 2 percent at Lewis-Clark State College and 3.5 percent at Idaho State University. The board trimmed back the requested increases for both BSU and UI, which had sought a 4.7 percent tuition and fee increase; board members said they wanted to hold the hikes to no more than 4 percent. “The board recognizes how difficult it is for our students to bear the cost of their public higher education,” said board President Don Soltman.

The state board is meeting today and tomorrow in Moscow; you can see their full tuition and fee announcement here. Oddly, not addressed in the announcement – but covered in the chart at the end – is Eastern Idaho Technical College’s request for a 6.3 percent increase in tuition and fees, which the board approved. That jumps annual tuition and fees at the school from $2,122 to $2,256. The board’s announcement is headed “Tuition and fees held at low levels,” and notes that full-time tuition and fees in Idaho are low compared to peer institutions both in the west and nationwide.

BSU requested a 6.1 percent increase for full-time students and 1.5 percent for part-time; the board approved 5.5 percent for full-time and 1.5 percent for part-time, for an average across the student body of 4 percent. Tuition and fees to attend BSU full-time will rise from $6,292 this year to $6,640 next year; at the U of I, it’ll go from $6,524 this year to $6,784 next year.

Mathias chosen as state board’s new chief academic officer

Chris Mathias has been hired as the new chief academic officer for the Idaho State Board of Education, replacing Selena Grace, who left in September for a post at Idaho State University. Mathias was policy manager in the office of the president at Boise State University; he’s also a former law professor and Coast Guard veteran. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from BSU, a law degree from Vermont Law School, and a Ph.D in law and public policy from Northeastern University.

Don Soltman, state board president, said, “Chris will be a great addition to the team. We are looking forward to working with him to advance the initiatives underway to improve education in Idaho.” The position pays $92,000 a year.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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